TDK Ventures backs Faction, the scalable driverless transportation startup

  • San Francisco-based driverless vehicle developer Faction reimagines urban transportation and micro-logistics with the development of their autocycle platform built from the ground up with autonomy and sustainability in mind
  • Scaled in size to reduce heavy congestion, Faction’s driverless electric vehicles are developed at a fraction of the cost of a regular car, keeping to a total cost of under $30,000 per unit, and made to compete in the micro-logistics market with a price point which will undercut ride sharing and delivery competitors
  • TDK Ventures proudly partners with Faction to accelerate time to market and bring their game-changing technology to those that need it, faster. Faction and TDK Ventures share a mutual passion for improving the world through tech


TDK Corporation (TSE: 6762) announced today that subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc. has invested in scalable driverless transportation startup company, Faction. Through this partnership, TDK Ventures seeks to expedite the development of a low-cost sustainable solution to urban delivery and travel-on-demand markets through Faction’s right-sized (three-wheel autocycle) electric vehicle (EV) platform. Recently graduated from the world-renowned Y-Combinator business incubator, the Faction team had previously launched driverless vehicles ranging from light EVs to full size semi-trucks, combining cumulative decades of experience into the new Faction fleet.

Despite significant progress over the past decade, completely autonomous vehicles remain elusive. Current artificial intelligence software and machine learning algorithms can handle close to 90% of driving scenarios (even more under typical highway conditions). However, the edge cases are still years away from completely turning over the wheel to our technology. Faction aims to fill that gap with its TeleAssist framework. TeleAssist adapts groundbreaking autonomous technology with supplemental human in the loop supervision, enabling the technology of the future to address the problems we are facing today – not waiting 5 or 10 more years for research. As a result, this process creates a driverless vehicle that is road ready now.

TDK Ventures sees a partnership with Faction as an ideal match in both vision and technology. TDK Ventures President Nicolas Sauvage commented, “A key part of our mission is to progress technology which furthers digital, energy, and environmental transformation. Faction addresses all three in an integrated way that can immediately improve society. They bring a digital approach to a problem in both the energy and sustainability space. We want to bring our own TDK Goodness to the table to expedite their development and see their vision to fruition as quickly as possible.”

Faction isn’t just a software company; they’ve designed and developed a fleet of their own from the ground up in partnership with select vehicle manufacturers. The norm in today’s industry focuses on converting standard vehicles to autonomous electric vehicles. “Most autonomous projects are taking existing vehicles and trying to retrofit them for driverless technologies,” said Faction CEO Ain McKendrick. “Rather than do the same things over and over again, we took a clean sheet approach from the chassis up.” In building a digital vehicle platform from the ground up with EV and autonomous technology in mind, McKendrick sees the opportunity to optimize and showcase the strengths of the tech instead of being dampened by the constraints driven by a retrofit to legacy vehicles.

Faction brought this vision to fruition by designing their EV system using a three-wheel autocycle (regulated as motorcycles) platform. The company stripped significant load demands from the electric power system and created the next innovation in urban transportation. Their fleet of “right-sized” vehicles can easily navigate the urban landscapes of tomorrow and represent a win from both environmental and energy sustainability perspective, and for the consumer at a price point that can’t be beat.

True to their design, Faction’s market priorities emphasize leveraging the synergies of autonomy to urban needs. Outlining their vision, they claim “ninety percent of urban trips consist of one passenger traveling fewer than five miles. Using large legacy vehicles is not sustainable from an emissions, gridlock, and energy use perspective. We are right-sizing driverless transportation, making it smart for the city and an affordable solution for the planet.” The initial focus is on micro-logistic transformation and becoming the new way for urbanites to get goods to their doorstep.   

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About TDK Corporation

TDK Corporation is a world leader in electronic solutions for the smart society based in Tokyo, Japan. Built on a foundation of material sciences mastery, TDK welcomes societal transformation by resolutely remaining at the forefront of technological evolution and deliberately “Attracting Tomorrow.” It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK’s comprehensive, innovation-driven portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in automotive, industrial and consumer electronics, and information and communication technology. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2020, TDK posted total sales of USD 13.3 billion and employed about 129,000 people worldwide.


About TDK Ventures

TDK Ventures Inc. invests in startups to bolster innovation in materials science, energy/power and related areas typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios. Established in 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation, the corporate venture company’s vision is to propel the digital and energy transformations of segments such as health and wellness, next-generation transportation, robotics and industrial, mixed reality and the wider IoT/IIoT markets. TDK Ventures will co-invest and support promising portfolio companies by providing technical expertise and access to global markets where TDK operates. Interested startups or investment partners may contact TDK Ventures: or .

About Faction

Faction Technology, Inc. is a Silicon Valley startup that develops driverless solutions based on light electric vehicles. Founded in February 2020, Faction is on a mission to revolutionize micro-logistics and vehicle-on-demand.  The company believes the future of sustainable transportation is to develop driverless vehicles that are safe, cost-effective, and right-sized to serve a range of use cases for both business and passenger transportation needs. For more information visit